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I Am the Truth: Toward a Philosophy of Christianity (Cultural Memory in the Present) [Paperback]

By Michel Henry (Author) & Susan Emanuel (Translator)
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Item description for I Am the Truth: Toward a Philosophy of Christianity (Cultural Memory in the Present) by Michel Henry & Susan Emanuel...

A part of the "return to religion" now evident in European philosophy, this book represents the culmination of the career of a leading phenomenological thinker whose earlier works trace a trajectory from Marx through a genealogy of psychoanalysis that interprets Descartes's "I think, I am" as "I feel myself thinking, I am."
In this book, Henry does not ask whether Christianity is "true" or "false." Rather, what is in question here is what Christianity considers as truth, what kind of truth it offers to people, what it endeavors to communicate to them, not as a theoretical and indifferent truth, but as the essential truth that by some mysterious affinity is suitable for them, to the point that it alone is capable of ensuring them salvation. In the process, Henry inevitably argues against the concept of truth that dominates modern thought and determines, in its multiple implications, the world in which we live.
Henry argues that Christ undoes "the truth of the world," that He is an access to the infinity of self-love, to a radical subjectivity that admits no outside, to the immanence of affective life found beyond the despair fatally attached to all objectifying thought. The Kingdom of God accomplishes itself in the here and now through the love of Christ in what Henry calls "the auto-affection of Life." In this condition, he argues, all problems of lack, ambivalence, and false projection are resolved.


From The Book Jacket
A part of the “return to religion” now evident in European philosophy, this book represents the culmination of the career of a leading phenomenological thinker whose earlier works trace a trajectory from Marx through a genealogy of psychoanalysis that interprets Descartes's “I think, I am” as “I feel myself thinking, I am.”
In this book, Henry does not ask whether Christianity is “true” or “false.” Rather, what is in question here is what Christianity considers as truth, what kind of truth it offers to people, what it endeavors to communicate to them, not as a theoretical and indifferent truth, but as the essential truth that by some mysterious affinity is suitable for them, to the point that it alone is capable of ensuring them salvation. In the process, Henry inevitably argues against the concept of truth that dominates modern thought and determines, in its multiple implications, the world in which we live.
Henry argues that Christ undoes “the truth of the world,” that He is an access to the infinity of self-love, to a radical subjectivity that admits no outside, to the immanence of affective life found beyond the despair fatally attached to all objectifying thought. The Kingdom of God accomplishes itself in the here and now through the love of Christ in what Henry calls “the auto-affection of Life.” In this condition, he argues, all problems of lack, ambivalence, and false projection are resolved.


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Item Specifications...


Studio: Stanford University Press
Pages   282
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.52" Width: 6.76" Height: 0.74"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 17, 2002
Publisher   Stanford University Press
ISBN  0804737800  
ISBN13  9780804737807  


Availability  110 units.
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More About Michel Henry & Susan Emanuel


Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Michel Henry is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the Universite Paul Valery, Montpelier. Among his books translated into English is A Genealogy of Psychoanalysis (Stanford, 1993)

Michel Henry has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Cultural Memory in the Present


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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy



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Reviews - What do customers think about I Am the Truth: Toward a Philosophy of Christianity (Cultural Memory in the Present)?

A book for the ages  Oct 29, 2005
Michel Henry (1922-2002) was a French philosopher. He taught philosophy for many years at a university in Montpellier, in southern France. But he was no narrow academic. His interests were wide-ranging and his books reflect it. In addition to philosophy, he wrote books about Marx, Freud, culture, politics, and art. He even wrote four novels (one of which won a literary prize).

Henry nominally belonged to the phenomenological tradition, but his philosophical work can actually be seen as a long-running critique of phenomenology. At the beginning of his first published book of philosophy, L'Essence de la manifestation, in 1963, Henry wrote, "This book was born of a refusal, the refusal of the very philosophy from which it has sprung," and although he acknowledged the debt he owed to Husserl and Heidegger - whom he called "thinkers of genius" - Henry was not constrained by what he saw as the limitations of traditional phenomenological ontology.

(If philosophical jargon isn't your cup of tea, and the mere mention of Heidegger makes your eyes glaze over, fear not. The book under present consideration, I Am the Truth: Toward a Philosophy of Christianity, isn't that kind of book. It isn't technical. While it isn't, in any sense, "light" reading, the book's message is accessible to readers of any background.)

The publication of this book, C'est moi la vérité (I Am the Truth), in 1996, when Henry was seventy-four years old, marked the beginning of the final phase of his career, when he wrote almost exclusively about Christianity, and with all of his characteristic passion and acumen. Two more books, Incarnation and Paroles du Christ, would follow this one - Henry corrected and proofread Paroles du Christ from his deathbed - but they, unlike this book, have not yet been translated into English.

I Am the Truth is an extended discourse on the condition of Son. At bottom, Henry says, human beings are Sons within the Son. But egoism causes us to forget our true condition. This core argument, which is centered in the book in chapters 6, 7, and 8, is brilliantly executed. Along with these chapters, I also think chapter 12, on "The Word of God, scripture," is writing of the highest rank.

In spite of the book's religious content, Henry's perspective remains more deeply rooted in philosophy than theology. Many theologians who have reviewed I Am the Truth have praised it, but some have felt that it presents an incomplete, and therefore somewhat one-sided, view of Christianity. Henry's followup book, Incarnation, in part, may be seen as a response to this criticism. On the other hand, many philosophers will object to religious content in a work of philosophy.

Perhaps it speaks to the book's potentially broad appeal that neither trained philosophers nor trained theologians are apt to be completely satisfied with it. As a person with no professional interest in either camp, I will simply say that the reading of the book was life-changing for me. I think it is the crowning achievement of Henry's lifetime of deep reflection. Finally, I will mention that if you like Meister Eckhart, you will like Michel Henry. Henry was deeply influenced by Eckhart - probably more deeply than by any other thinker.

(Also, the translation of this book, by Susan Emanuel, is first-rate.)

The following excerpts are from Chapter 12 of the book:

"If we understand the possibility that is given to any living Self of hearing the Word of Life as an appeal that this word addresses to him, then the schema we usually use to interpret this call (and as a corollary, its relation to a likely response) proves totally inadequate. This is because, once again, the word is grasped as the world's word, with respect to both the word that addresses the call and the word that is supposed to respond to it. The word that speaks in the world and the call it addresses are worldly things, visible or audible. And the word whose role is to reply must first hear this call, receive it as something it can receive only by opening up to the world - in this Hearing that is openness to the world as such. It is a mediation of the exteriority of the world that links the call and the response.

"In this way, call and response are different, exterior to each other, separated from each other in this Difference that is the world. Separated from the call, the response must turn toward it to hear it in the world where it resounds. It can equally well not do so: turn away from it, not hear it, or just not respond to it. The response is contingent in relation to the call. This contingency, the possibility for the response to respond or not respond, is what we call its freedom. But, as we have seen, the structure of the world's word, which speaks by speaking in the world and by hearing what resonates in the world, has separated call and response now and forever.

"In the Word of Life, by contrast, the difference between Word and Hearing, the call and the response, has disappeared. Because the Hearing in which I hear the Word of Life is my own condition of Son, my own life engendered in absolute Life's self-engendering, this Hearing has no freedom at all with respect to what it hears. It is not the Hearing of a call to which the person has license to respond or not. To be able to respond to the call, to hear it in an appropriate listening, but equally to turn away from it - it is always too late for all that. Life, thrown into itself, has always already thrown us into ourselves, into this Self that is similar to none other, that at no moment ever chose to be this Self that he is, not even to be something like a Self at all. No person has the opportunity to ignore the arch-coming of the Revelation, which has given him Life. Whether he remembers or forgets it arises only from his own thought and in no way affects his condition as a living. Life has only one word that never goes back on what it says, and nobody evades it. This Parousia without memory and without failure of the Word of Life is our birth."

...

"I hear forever the sound of my birth, which is the sound of Life, the unbreakable silence in which the Word of Life does not stop speaking my own life to me, in which my own life, if I hear that word speaking within it, does not stop speaking the Word of God to me."
 

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